The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

If you want a book that will have your kids rolling on the floor, The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak is the book you’re looking for.

the book with no pictures

Usually, when I write about picture books, I do it as a list, with a bunch of picture books together.

It’s only for the very most exceptional picture books that I write an entire post about a single book (I think the last one that got its own post was Journey).

The Book With No Pictures deserves its own post.

But actually, as you might suspect from the cover, this book isn’t really a picture book at all.

Nope, not one single picture in the whole book.

I’d been hearing buzz about The Book with No Pictures for MONTHS, but didn’t manage to get my hands on a copy until we returned to the United States and I picked up one at my parents’ library.

That afternoon, Ella and I read it together and she laughed so much, I thought she was going to pass out.

She begged to read it a second time and, to my surprise, she laughed just as much that time through.

Over the next few days, we read it dozens of times, and she insisted that both of my parents read it to her (they both thought it was delightfully clever too) and the first morning that Bart was back from the UK, it was the first thing Ella asked him to do with her (the second thing was to ask if he’d brought back any Jammie Dodgers).

The Book with No Pictures

The basic idea of The Book with No Pictures is that, yes, there might be no pictures, but adults might not realize that their job is to read whatever words are on the page and if those pages are filled with nonsense words or the insistence that they are a monkey, well, then, they just have to read those crazy words.

Admirably, the book goes on just long enough to be funny, without overplaying the joke. And somehow, it does manage to be fun and enjoyable for reading after reading.

You can also watch the author (B.J. Novak was a writer, producer, and actor on The Office) read part of the book to a bunch of school-age children here and it’s hilarious.

Seriously, go get yourself a copy of The Book with No Pictures and be a hero in your home.

(And, if you’re a parent like me, you will break the rules and where it says “Boo Boo Butt,” you will read aloud “Boo Boo Bottom.” Because that’s the kind of rebel without a cause I am).

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  1. I still haven't read this book because every time I go to put it on hold, I get depressed about being #149 on the list.

    Also, I would do the same kind of editing as you, for sure.

  2. I just bought a copy of this for the library, and after reading your review, I'm going to have to put a hold on it to get it first!

  3. Haha!! I actually say Boo Boo Butt (I can't believe it) and my boys laugh hysterically (boys!).

    It really is such a great book. They beg for it all day every day.

  4. I loved this book when you shared the video on Facebook! We're definitely going to have to check it out! We're totally those parents that change the words in books all the time too, although I think we would say "Boo Boo Bum" 😉

  5. This book was under the tree for us on several friends' recommendations. And we are the same kind of mom – boo boo bum it is.

  6. I haven't heard of this one before now but it sounds like something my three year old would love. And thanks for the head's up about the "b" word – always nice to be prepared! 😉

  7. I just wanted to say that I appreciate that you not only blog about books that you read, but you also blog about books that you like for your children and what they like. I have a 7 year old girl and have found it very difficult to find books in her age range. Thanks for giving me ideas and for books to look for at my local library.

  8. i just bought this book for my kids the other day and we read it last night for the first time and my kids were DYING laughing. so good.

  9. OK, I'm going to be the one person who didn't really like this book. I loved Press Here and my library students absolutely roared with laughter when I read it and were so amazed by it. But, this book? Not so much. My own daughter just thought it was weird. I know she is eight, so she is probably on the verge of liking a book like this, but ack! What am I missing?

  10. My 3.5 and 5.5 year olds cant get enough of this book! They find it hysterical and trick every houseguest into reading it to them.

  11. we say "bum" at our house and i went against my instincts and read it "boo boo butt" because… well, it's funny… and now Van calls everyone "boo boo butt" all the time. and it's still funny. oh well!!

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